Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Air quality worse inside your car?

Consumer guide to the chemicals found in your car:

http://www.healthycar.org/home.php

It is an interesting article, but it only addresses new cars. I'd like to know how much these chemicals dissipate over time, for instance if I buy a used car, is there less chemical presence or is it worse? common sence and a couple of science classes in school tell me it's probably less of a concern in a used car.

Monday, March 26, 2007

NJ guy off the grid

this guys lives off the grid, but it cost him about as much as the average home in California.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20070315/ts_csm/chydro

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Los Angeles Green Guide

http://www.greenopia.com/

They have just published a book (yes, printed on recycled paper with soy ink) called Greenopia: the Urban Dwellers Guide to Green Living - Los Angeles vol. 1. I can only assume they are planning to release more books in the future specific to other cities.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Monday, March 19, 2007

Make Yogurt Containers into Toothbrushes

http://www.recycline.com/

This place recycles yougurt containers into razors and toothbrushes. Use link to find where you can recycle your toothbrushes.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Bay Area resources

Builders Resource in San Francisco.

Recycledeverything--much like Urban Ore in Berkeley.
Another place in the same area is SCRAP, which also has some hardware and fixtures.

Check out www.sfenvironment.com to get links to both of these places.

check out links and resources on Stopwaste.org (Alameda County) and
recycleworks.org (San Mateo County)

For Solar look up www.rahus.org

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Green Music

SAVE THE WORLD Ryan Miller, from the indie rock band Guster.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/15/fashion/15reverb.html



By ALEX WILLIAMS
Published: March 15, 2007
THE typical high E string on an electric guitar is a stainless steel filament 32 inches long and one-hundredth of an inch thick. It weighs perhaps as much as a few paper clips — not a lot of raw material, but enough for the Barenaked Ladies to concern themselves with on their recent North American tour, which concluded last month.

Michael Temchine for The New York Times
The “green” batteries he uses.

Michael Temchine for The New York Times
Earrings by Jessica Ford made from guitar strings.
Working with a Maine-based environmental organization called Reverb, which also helps to “green” the tours of artists like Alanis Morissette, Sheryl Crow and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Barenaked Ladies invited “greening coordinators” to gather up broken and used strings from the stage after gigs to be recycled by a New Hampshire company into jewelry.
And that was hardly the only green gesture on the quirky Canadian rock quintet’s tour. The band ate locally grown organic food off plates and forks made of biodegradable potato starch. Its members drank from reusable canteens instead of plastic bottles. They traveled in a four-bus caravan fueled with biodiesel. And a portion of the proceeds from shows, along with donations, were used to purchase renewable energy credits to offset electricity consumed by the tour, down to the amps and spotlights.
The band also played a slideshow on global warming as a sort of opening act before each gig, which was fine for the planet, the singer Steven Page conceded, but at times distracted the crowd from its primary mission — namely, to rock.
“Sometimes,” Mr. Page said, “it could take a few songs to remind them that they’re there to have a good time.”
Like few other enterprises short of a military invasion, the rock tour is designed to convert copious amounts of material and energy into spectacle — and produces equivalent amounts of waste. But in the “Inconvenient Truth” era, when even the oil and automobile industries are painting themselves green, it should come as little surprise that rock — never shy about making grand, self-congratulatory gestures — is working hard to catch up.
Lately, it is doing so with the help of organizations like Reverb, a nonprofit group devoted primarily to the green rock tour.
Bonnie Raitt, whose philanthropic foundation works with Reverb, said the goal is not only to make tours eco-friendly, but also to connect fans to the environmental movement. “A change is coming,” Ms. Raitt said in an e-mail message. “Green power is the way out of this mess.”
In fact, momentum for greener rock tours has been building. Artists like Ms. Raitt, Dave Matthews and Willie Nelson have been vocal about their decision to travel in buses fueled by biodiesel, made of vegetable oils and producing less carbon dioxide. Bands like Coldplay have made news with plans to offset the energy consumed by their tours and CD manufacturing with tree-planting in third world countries.
But the green rock tour as a concept is now moving on to a second act — and that is where Reverb comes in. The organization, based in Portland, Me., was founded in 2004 by Adam Gardner, a guitarist for the indie rock band Guster, and his wife, Lauren Sullivan, who worked for the Rainforest Action Network. Reverb charges acts a fee for its consulting services and is also sponsored by green companies and other fund-raisers.
A prominent for-profit organization in the field is MusicMatters, a marketing company in Minneapolis. It works with environment-minded clients, produces events and consults with artists like the Dave Matthews Band and Jack Johnson on a wide range of green touring practices, down to the use of nonpetroleum-based cosmetics onstage.
“We like to consider ourselves an eco-SWAT team,” said Mr. Gardner, 33, explaining Reverb’s approach. Indeed, under its stern eye, promoters are shamed into ditching Styrofoam coffee cups from catering spreads backstage, and crew members are instructed to collect partially spent nine-volt batteries from musicians’ distortion boxes and wireless microphones.
“You go through 50 a week, but they’re only half-used,” said Mr. Gardner, explaining that musicians who run a battery too far into its charge risk finding their guitars go silent. The batteries, high-mindedly, are saved for later use. Unfortunately, Mr. Gardner said, they have yet to determine how, so he and Ms. Sullivan, also 33, have large boxes of them in their apartment. “We’re trying to figure who to donate them to,” he said.
Even environmentalists have a hard time determining how much the greening efforts are feel-good public relations gestures and how much pay real ecological dividends.
Regarding carbon-offset programs, for example, Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution, explained, “In general, these offsets do some good, in the sense they usually help fund projects that are beneficial.”
But, he added, their benefits are hypothetical, intended to defer future emissions, while the actual tours produce significant amounts of greenhouse gases now. “Half of that carbon dioxide will still be in the atmosphere for 100 years,” he said, “and none of these offsets will change that.”
Skeptics might also suggest that a greener-than-thou rock ’n’ roll band is a highly relative concept. A true ecological troubadour would simply swear off the strobe lights and JumboTrons and stay home strumming acoustic guitar ditties for neighbors in the dark.
The same goes for rock fans, even those responsible enough to carpool in their Subaru to the show: they will have to stare down the contradictions between planetary patriotism and the desire for a rocking good time — at least until someone invents a biomass-fueled cigarette lighter to thrust aloft during encores.
Craig Marks, the editor in chief of Blender magazine, observed that many of the green acts already have a base of liberal-leaning fans “who are probably one step away from phoning into the PBS pledge drive for a free tote bag.”
”They probably feel better knowing that the $300 they’re spending is somehow supporting something besides guitar solos and marijuana intake,” Mr. Marks said.
But while rock purists may debate how the fundamental environmentalist impulses toward sacrifice, deferred gratification and guilt fit within an art form built around abandon and excess, those working the front lines to build the greener rock tour believe their moment has arrived.
Michael Martin, the president of MusicMatters, which has been working on the issue for years, said that as recently as the late ’90s the concept of carbon offsets was generally unknown, and biodiesel was “as hard to find as moonshine.” So “greening” a tour meant making even smaller gestures, like inflating bus tires to specifications to achieve maximum fuel efficiency.
But now, for example, Reverb-coordinated tours feature Eco-Villages — interactive informational tents intended to teach fans about ecological issues. And, for most tours, Ms. Sullivan said, the organization deputizes volunteers to haul home bags of trash from backstage and sort out recyclables on their own time. (“Hey, I went to a rock concert and came back with a bag of garbage — great!” she said.)
On most Reverb-advised tours, the performers funnel a percentage of ticket sales, or pay directly, to purchase renewable energy credits from a Vermont company called NativeEnergy — enough for construction of wind, solar and biomass electricity generators to offset the amount of carbon produced by each tour.
And to be sure, rock tours produce tremendous amounts of waste — from 500 to 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide from a single stadium show, not including fan transportation.
But perhaps the greatest challenge will be to spread the green message beyond those likely to turn up on the donor rolls of the Sierra Club — say, to heavy metal bands, with their columns of fire spewing onstage, or hip-hop bands, for whom moneyed hyper-consumption is a theology as much as a song topic.
Mr. Gardner, who is having a “green” guitar made for him by a Boston luthier from sustainably harvested wood, nontoxic stains and finishes and reclaimed hardware, admitted as much, recounting a conversation about alternative fuels with will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas backstage at a Randalls Island show.
“He said, ‘Huh, biodiesel, that’s cool,’ ” Mr. Gardner recalled. “ ‘Is that something I can run in my Hummer?’ ”
That was in 2005. Will.i.am’s publicist said he is now driving a Tesla electric sports car.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Stop Waste

The Alameda County website of all things green.

There is a handy Recycling Wizard that lets you know where to bring household chemicals, oil, hazardous waste and anything else you might need to get rid of.

http://stopwaste.org/home/index.asp?page=36

Green Cemetaries

This is from a yahoo mailing list called the compact. Interesting article on green cemetaries:

The Final Compact - I've heard this is now popular Down Under!

RESTING IN PEACE - The Green Goodbye Greensprings Natural Cemetery in upstate New York opened last May and has so far sold 55 grave sites. Each one costs $500, plus another $450 to open and close it. Eco-friendly burials eschew headstones, embalming and pricey caskets made from exotic imported wood Imagine a gently sloping hill covered with fallen leaves, green ferns and bright wildflowers, the branches of sturdy oaks and maples arching overhead. Birds chirp in the trees. Squirrels and chipmunks scamper on the ground. Now imagine yourself buried underneath. No proud shiny headstone engraved "Beloved." No manicured, fertilized grass. Just your body decomposing inside your biodegradable shroud, your tissues feeding the tree roots and who knows what else. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. You can now be politically correct when you're six feet under. It's known as a green or natural burial, a way of combining an eco-friendly interment with land conservation. Make your burial a statement of values by helping create a forest, says Mike Salisbury, one of the founders of the Natural Burial Coop, a group in southern Ontario. "If you're buried where roots grow through your bones, you're doing what you're supposed to do – give back in the end." This idea could take root. Baby boomers, forever defying time, wouldn't so much die as just get replanted. Several groups are trying to establish Canada's first natural burial cemetery. Janet McCausland, vice-president of Green Living Ventures, part of Key Publishing, has proposed that some of the federal Downsview land be converted and is talking with land conservation groups. Salisbury's co-op is looking at three potential sites outside Toronto. And on the west coast, the Memorial Society of B.C., has hopes for two possible places. "It's a way to finance environmental restoration of land, to make sure a Wal-Mart never grows on the old family farm," says Salisbury, 40, a landscape architect and Guelph city councillor. (In Ontario, a potential cemetery must first get municipal approval then comply with provincial standards before it can be licensed.) This latest back-to-the-earth movement started in England about a dozen years ago, then spread to the United States, where four green cemeteries have blossomed, including one in upstate New York. A green goodbye means no toxic embalming chemicals such as formaldehyde. That one is on the European Union's list for possible banning. A nature-loving corpse is entombed in a biodegradable container or shroud. "The metal from coffins buried each year in the U.S. is more than was used to build the Golden Gate Bridge," says Joe Sehee, founder of the Green Burial Council in the U.S., which sets ethical standards for the budding practice. Rather than rip out a hunk of rainforest for a coffin, a burial box might be made from locally harvested wood, wicker or even recycled paper, perhaps decorated with good-bye messages from friends. "As long as the cardboard doesn't look cheap," warns Salisbury, "like you're UPSing the guy to the afterlife." But could eco-sensitive send-offs really deliver? The Natural Burial Coop, formed six months ago, has 25 consumer members who've plunked down $25 in an act of faith to secure a site. The Natural Burial Association, a separate group dedicated to spreading the green grave gospel, has a loyal following of about 50, says executive director McCausland. She speaks to church and interfaith groups who praise the interconnected web of existence concept. In upstate New York's Finger Lakes region, Greensprings Natural Cemetery is 100 acres of old pastures and fields bounded by two 4,000-acre protected forests. Opened last May, the cemetery has sold 55 sites. It has attracted interest from people all over the country, mainly traditional Christians, environmentalists and people looking for a simple, affordable alternative, says Mary Woodsen, president of Greensprings Natural Cemetery Preserve. A Greensprings grave site costs $500 with another $450 to open and close it. Conventional burial digs deeper into your pockets. On average, Ontario consumers spend $2,300 on a casket, although you can go in high style, about $25,000 for the Cadillac version. For a cemetery plot, it's all about location. A grave site in the Toronto core costs about $5,000, while a 905 area one goes for about $2,000, according to Rick Cowan, assistant marketing vice-president for the Mount Pleasant Group, owner of 10 GTA cemeteries. He's heard about green burials at industry meetings, but no one has been asking about it here. "If it raised itself as a void in the marketplace we'd look into it," he says. Mike Driscoll, a small business consultant in Guelph, is a recent green burial convert. He had figured cremation was the way to go; it costs less (about $400 to $500) and you take up less space. But then he got concerned about the fossil fuel used in the process and the toxic materials, such as mercury, released into the air. Natural burial, he decided, was preferable. "It's a beautiful way to end life, to give back to the soil." One of the founders of the co-op, Driscoll, 51, is helping the group plan a line of benign burial products – pine boxes without toxic glues, baskets by Maritime weavers – for members. "No one will get rich on this," he says. Back in upstate New York, the Greensprings cemetery has so far had four burials, two in biodegradable cardboard caskets, one in a coffin made from locally harvested pine, and one in a shroud. "The family," says Woodsen, "prepared her body themselves and sewed beautiful white ribbons on the shroud." One body, packed in dry ice, was flown in from Ohio. The deceased wanted a natural burial, and Greensprings, found online, was the closest. The cemetery has made one not-pure-green concession. The soil is so rocky, a backhoe digs the graves. Some burial preserves with kinder, gentler conditions use old-fashioned muscle-power and shovels. At Greensprings, some of the grave site ceremonies have been quiet and religious, while the others included music and poetry readings. Some have planted saplings to mark the site. While headstones are verboten, a natural unpolished stone, possibly engraved but flush to the ground, would be permissible, says Woodsen. "What could be more beautiful than to become a part of nature, that a molecule from your body ends up in a berry that a bird eats," says Woodsen. "It's completing the circle of life." For more information, see naturalburial.ca, site of the Natural Burial Co-operative, or naturalburialassoc.ca, for the Natural Burial Association. For Greensprings Natural Cemetery, see naturalburial.org , for the Green Burial Council, go to greenburialcouncil.org Credit - Nancy J. White - Life Writer - The Toronto Star - Jan. 26, 2007

Chris Shaver, BSW13 - 1132 Upper Wellington StreetHamilton, ON L9A 3S6 CANADA(905) 974 - 6213 / (905) 385 - 1725http://www.HamiltonVERC.info

"You can forgive someone almost anything. But you cannot tolerate everything... We don't have to tolerate what people do just because we forgive them for doing it. Forgiving heals us personally. To tolerate everything only hurts us all in the long run." -- Lewis B. Smedes

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Make your own granola bars

I'm not sure exactly if this is something that counts as being "green," but I'll let you know how these work out:

Granola bar recipe:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey

Mix everything together. Add enough water (maybe a half cup?) to slightly moisten it- enough so it's possible to mix everything thoroughly. Pat into a greased 9 by 13 pan and bake at 325 about 20 minutes. The peanut butter and honey are sticky enough to make these less crumbly than other recipes I've used.

- from the compacting Yahoo group, Sarah Rain

Homemade Granola Bars
2½ cups rolled oats (old fashioned or instant)
1 cup shredded coconut
½ cup raw sunflower seeds
¼ cup sesame seeds
½ cup wheat germ
½ cup slivered almonds
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
¼ cup dark brown honey
1 cup raisins
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Bake the oats, coconut, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, wheat germ and almonds on a 9-by-12-inch baking sheet for 20 minutes, starting as you preheat your oven to 300 degrees.

Heat the butter, brown sugar and honey in a small saucepan, simmering while the dried ingredients are baking. Add the raisins to the dried mix as soon as it’s removed from the oven.

Remove the saucepan from the heat, mix in the vanilla extract and pour the liquid mix over the oat mixture, stirring until all the dried mixture is coated.

Press the granola firmly into the bottom of a greased 8-by-8-inch pan and place the pan in the still-warm oven to bake (at 300 degrees) for 20 minutes. You can cut the batch into bars after the granola has cooled slightly, but wait to take the bars out of the pan until they’re completely cool.

This recipe alone makes a yummy treat, but these ingredients simply make up a basic granola recipe. You can mix things up with a variety of seeds, fruits and anything else that sounds good in a granola bar. Dried figs, dates, apples and apricots all can be successful additions, or you can add crunchy peanut butter to the honey mix or substitute rolled wheat or rye for 1 cup of the oats. Substitute molasses for part of the honey, add poppy seeds or carob chips, or sprinkle in some cinnamon.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

does this really count?

I mean really does drinking count as being green? well, maybe if you drink too much ;-)

http://www.greendrinks.org/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SustainableBusinessHappyHourSF/

or

San Francisco Green Drinks

meets on the first Wednesday of each month from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Varnish Fine Arts at 77 Natoma Street between 1st and 2nd Street in San Francisco. [Natoma Street is in between Howard and Mission Streets.] If interested, please contact Robin Park at the Trust for Public Land at robin.park@tpl.org or 415-495-5660 ext. 339 if you would like additional information and/or would like to be added to the email distribution list for monthly email reminders.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Green Beer

No, Not for St. Patty's Day...

You Can Brew Your Own Beerby Megan Phelps
The first time you’re presented with a homebrewed beer, you might feel a bit skeptical. After all, the bottle is all wrong. It doesn't have a label, and it might even be a little dusty, as though it’s been sitting in the corner of someone’s basement. (And maybe it has.) But if you do drink that bottle of homebrew, you’ll discover that most homebrewed beer not only tastes as good as store-bought beer, it’s often a lot better. And — what a nice bonus! — it’s probably cheaper, too.
Homebrew has distinctive flavors.The best thing about homemade beer is its variety, because when you make your own, you can experiment with any ingredients or techniques that you choose and create beer with interesting and unique flavors.
Unfortunately, the most successful American beers are not a very diverse group, and tend not to have very strong flavors. Microbrews offer a much wider range of styles and tastes, but because these beers come from small breweries, they’re not always easy to find, and in many parts of the United States, you can’t order beer or wine by mail. (The laws about shipping alcohol are complicated.)
There’s another problem with shipping beer: It doesn’t always age or travel well. If you drink imports, the beer you like may taste quite different in its country of origin than it does by the time it gets to your refrigerator. When you brew your own, you have much more control over the process.
Homebrew is green beer.Of course, the beer isn’t literally green unless you go a little crazy on St. Patrick's Day and throw in some food coloring. (Also, “green beer” is a term for beer that’s still too young to have developed its full flavor — again, not what we're aiming for here.) But from an environmental standpoint, brewing your own beer is definitely green. Here’s why:
It's very, very local. Bottles of homebrew don't have to be shipped cross country or overseas, which saves a lot of energy.
When you brew on a small scale, you can compost the spent grain and hops. Alternatively, spent grain makes great feed for chickens and pigs, if you happen to have some around.
You can even seek out local and/or organic ingredients, something it's hard to find in commercial beer. Don’t expect to find everything locally, but you may be able to find one or two ingredients nearby. For example, here in Kansas, you can grow hops in your garden, or even find them growing wild. A good source for organic ingredients is www.breworganic.com.
Getting started is simple.Brewing is a craft, and many people brew for competitions. Some even become professional brewers. But although advanced homebrewing techniques can be sophisticated, making your first batch of beer isn’t that complicated. It will probably be drinkable, and you can find everything you need in a simple kit for about $60 or $70. (Look for these from local homebrewing supply stores, or order one online).
Once you start brewing, the ingredients are inexpensive: Dollar for dollar you can drink better beer more cheaply if you brew your own than if you buy it. It's easier to start with malt extract, but brewing with whole grains is even cheaper and gives you more options.
If you're looking for homebrewing advice, you'll find a slew of helpful books with techniques and recipes, as well as two magazines: Brew Your Own and Zymurgy. You’ll also find a lot of likeminded people. You can count on finding other homebrewers at online discussion forums (try www.homebrewtalk.com), local brewer’s clubs, homebrew competitions or microbreweries.
We’d love to hear about your experiences with homebrewing. Feel free to share your triumphs, failures or even a recipe in our comments section.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Compost

I got a three bin compost "system" for Christmas. I wanted it because I was annoyed that the soil in our yard was essentially vacuumed every other week and all of the nutients that should be replenishing the soil were going out in the yard waste bin. Why should the city get my compost when It is so badly needed here? I finally set it up today (of course after the leaves are no longer falling...) I plan to take the small amount of grass that is mowed from our yard every other week, and transpost it into the compost bin. I will also make a significant effort to keep kitchen waste to add to the bin.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

dishwasher detergent

I found this recipie for Dishwasher "detergent" I will try it out.

Dishwasher detergent
Posted by: "bridgetsnape" mailto:bridgetsnape@yahoo.com?Subject=bridgetsnape
I was looking for the original post that suggested this but couldn't find it. We have now used baking soda in the open cup and vinegar in the closed cup of the dishwasher for detergent three times - and it is a winner. Everything came out clean and grit free!This one is a keeper.BRidget

I wonder how I can get the water that is coming out of the dishwasher to go into the garden? It seems like such a waste to send it into the water treatment facilities. Same with the clothes washer.